Another Saturday, another (surprise) trail race.
With the Fall Equinox 10K on a Tuesday night, I hadn’t originally planned to race the Saturday before. I raced the Thursday night before the last 10K I raced (in March), and with less than 48 hours between two hard efforts, I was really worn out.
Last week, my friend and training partner Steve, whose business (Griffin Screen Printing) sponsored the race, offered me a free entry to the CrossBridge Pancake Run, a low-key, fun, charity event. I decided to run it, but not super hard, and have plenty of time to recover from Saturday morning to Tuesday evening.
It rained all day Friday, and I woke up on Saturday morning to more rain- good thing I hadn’t cleaned up my muddy trainers from last Saturday’s Raccoon Pond Rush trail race. After my usual pre-race routine of Starbuck’s Pike’s Place roast and a frosted blueberry pop tart, I drove from my house in Rural West Ashley to Laurel Hill Plantation in Mt. Pleasant.
It rained the entire drive.
I got to the race and warmed up a little with a 1 mile run on the trail. It wasn’t as muddy as I thought it would be, but it was still pretty muddy. Warming up on the course was a great idea because I could pay attention to where the mud was and where the roots were, so I didn’t have to think as much during the race. There was a spot where you *had* to run through the mud because it crossed the entire path.
The trail is a 3-mile circle, followed by a finish that runs through grass and ends on a dirt road. The 5K runners run the circle one time and the 10K runners run it twice. For this reason, the 10K is 6.2 and the 5K is slightly long, but whose gunning for a PR on a muddy trail anyway?
It stopped raining about 20 minutes before the race, and we were off. A couple of guys were ahead of me the whole time, including my friend Mark who ran the 10K and won it (He’s so nice to slow down and run my long runs with me). In the first mile, I passed a lady in a white shirt, and she came from behind to pass me again and splashed water all over my legs (not her fault there was a puddle there). Then, she was gone. I passed a little boy on Mile 2, and saw the same 2 guys ahead of me for the rest of the race, one of whom was wearing a white shirt.
I started to think the ladies were all behind me, but at the turnoff point, I saw one of the white shirted people turn and thought that was the lady who passed me. Oh well, I kicked it in on the dirt road since it was a root-free part of the course.
I finished in 25:19 and didn’t see the lady anywhere at the finish. Turns out, I was the first female and that lady was running the 10K (she won it). I cheered on my garage running buddies Richie and Kaitlyn when they finished, then went off on my cooldown. Post cooldown, it was time for pancakes and awards!
The CrossBridge Ministries 5K/10K Pancake Run supports a local charity that helps families of chronically ill children and grieving families whose young children have passed away. I can’t imagine the pain of losing a child, but I’m glad CrossBridge is there to help.
Each year, several families whose lives have been touched by CrossBridge Family Ministries come to the race to run, walk, and share their touching stories with participants. This is my favorite part of the event because you can see who is impacted by it and feel close to the cause you’re running for. Last year, one family spoke about losing their daughter just after she was born, and this year, they came back with their new baby who was only a few weeks old.
There weren’t really any ladies near me on the course, so winning was more about me showing up than actual training and competition. I was proud of my first place finish mainly because I beat last year’s time by over 40 seconds, on a hotter day, and with muddy trails. I also ran even splits.
I may not be where I was before I got injured, but at least I’m running better than I was a year ago, and I’m proud of the progress so far.